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General News Mon, 19 Nov 2001

TUC Urges Workers To Go For Tax Relief

THE Deputy Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in charge of Operations, Mr Kofi Asamoah, has called on workers to take advantage of the introduction of up-front payment of tax reliefs by the government.

He, therefore, urged them to prevail on their employers to take the necessary steps to ensure that workers benefit from the relief announced in this year’s budget statement to improve their earnings.

In a statement issued in Accra by the Public Affairs Secretariat of the TUC, Mr Asamoah explained that, “the new procedures to ease the difficult and cumbersome procedures enjoin the employer to collect forms from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and ensure that the correct data concerning their employees are entered on the forms and returned to the IRS for processing”.

It said he was speaking at the opening of a two-day meeting of the Upper West Regional Council of Labour at Wa on Friday.

The participants treated topics such as good governance, the negative impact of the policies of the World Trade Organisation on workers, and globalization and its effect on workers.

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Other issues discussed include the budget and its effects on workers.

Under the relief, an individual of a dependent spouse or at least two children, could have ?300,000 a year, while a physically challenged person engaged in a business or employment will have 24 per cent deducted from his accessible income.

Persons above 60 years, are also entitled to ?300,000 a year as relief from any business or employment, while children’s education relief is pegged at ?240, 000 a year to any person sponsoring the education of his or her child or ward in recognised educational institution, but limited to three children.

The statement said the Deputy Secretary-General cautioned that, “if workers do not pressurise their employers to take the necessary steps, it was not likely that most employers would willingly act in the interest of employees”.

He suggested to workers to take advantage of the tax relief seriously and pursue them to raise their present low income levels in the country. According to him, since workers are the most reliable tax payers they must be encouraged to enjoy the relief.

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The statement said Mr Asamoah called on the IRS to mount a vigorous tax education campaign, particularly about the tax relief, to ensure that while workers fulfil their tax obligations promptly, relief accruing to them are not denied them through ignorance or bureaucracy.

It quoted the Deputy Secretary-General to have appealed to workers to seek knowledge, get involved in national affairs and ensure that the democratic institutions in the country are strongly defended to enable them to survive and ensure that workers interests are better protected.

The statement said he told the workers that the TUC leadership is fully committed to empowering workers with knowledge, which is the driving force in current power relations.

Meanwhile, a resolution adopted after the two-day meeting described the statement by President Kufuor as to why workers did not demand the restoration of the ESB during the tenure of office of the previous government as very unfortunate and said the government was running away from its responsibility.

The resolution said the Council also finds it difficult to accept the President’s statement that workers cannot force it to accede to their demands by wearing red bands as threats to industrial action.

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The resolution reminded stakeholders that workers and their leaders only resort to industrial action when it becomes necessary.

It expressed its support to earlier calls on government to immediately initiate discussions with the TUC on the issue since the freeze was between labour and government.

The resolution recalled that before the NPP Government succeeded the NDC the TUC at its sixth Quadrennial Delegates Congress in Kumasi in September last year resolved to struggle until the ESB was restored.

It said: “We are also mindful that a government is a continuous process and a succeeding government inherits its predecessor with all the assets and liabilities”.

The resolution gave the assurance that the TUC is prepared to be a partner in development with the government as long as this is based on mutual respect and interest and that no amount of threats and insults will intimidate them into submission when they have a justifiable cause for which they have to struggle.

It registered its protest against the participation of foreign companies as partners in the water delivery sector because those foreign companies can form cartels and hold the country to ransom.

It said other alternative sources to revamp the water sector must be explored to enable Ghanaians to own and manage their water resources.

The resolution also called on the government to restructure the Social Security and National Insurance Trust to make its pension more beneficial to workers.

Source: Daily Graphic